From the Sewanee Mountain Messenger 9/27/2019
I am pleased to report that all five priority projects experienced progress during the month of September. Leading the way was the new Bookstore. Located between the Sewanee Post Office and Tower Community Bank, it is steadily taking shape. The framing continues with signs that walls are not far behind. The projected completion date continues to be by the end of 2019. The narrowing of 41-A for a half-mile through the downtown area, is on track for the completion of the design and right of way in early 2020. We anticipate actual construction by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to begin by 2021. The schematic design for the mixed-use building, on the southeast corner of Lake O’Donnell Road and 41-A, is almost finished. The design includes retail space as well as a food market on the ground floor and about 12 studio and 1 bedroom apartments on the upper floor. Our Development partner for the Village project, BP Construction, is actively seeking tenants for the retail and apartment space. We are in the process of beginning a conceptual design for the Village Green. This space is on the current site of the Sewanee Market, so it will require that the new market be completed before construction can begin on this civic and event space.
Other activity includes efforts to identify ways to attract visitors to Sewanee. This tourism effort involves student projects from the Babson Center’s Carey Fellows and with MTSU’s Tourism majors. We are also participating in the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development effort to form a tourism program that involves the South Cumberland Plateau region. The Kim Butters Pilates Studio is nearing the completion of construction documents that will allow for the start of building Kim’s Body Works Youniversity later this fall.
One of the most important projects for the vitalization of the Downtown area is the ability to create more places for people to live. This continues to be a major need and an important building block for the community. However, it is a multi-dimensional challenge. There are several factors that need to be addressed. The most pressing is the need for the University to have places for employees to live. Faculty and staff that are in the early stages of their careers do not have enough options for places to live. Although there are several dozen rental units provided by the University, more are needed. Ideally there would be newer units that are aligned better to the needs and lifestyles of employees. In addition, we are looking to create a variety of rental options that include apartments and apartment houses. Another objective would be to create smaller and more affordable multi-family homes such as duplexes and townhomes along with the single family homes. The University has been working on all of these needs with various studies and by releasing building sites for employees to construct homes. There are currently several that are in the process of being built. The Village project has a unique opportunity to make progress in this need for housing in Sewanee by creating and making available a variety of housing types that do not currently exist. Our Development Partner, BP Construction will hold input sessions for University employees, so that they can better understand the needs and wants of employees who desire to live in Sewanee.
In addition to this effort, we want to also understand the needs of community members who would like to live in Sewanee. So, the focus of the October update meeting will be just that. On Tuesday October 1st with one session at 10 AM and another at 4:30 PM, the topic of housing for community members who would like to live in Sewanee will be the focus for the meeting. Input on size, variety and affordability will be explored. In addition, updates on the major projects will be provided. The sessions will be held at the Blue Chair Café and Tavern.
Hope to see you there!
Frank X. Gladu is a Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and project Manager for the Sewanee Village Development. He can be reached at email@example.com or 931-598-3397. More information about the Sewanee Village Project can be obtained at the web site: www.sewanee.edu/village and the Facebook page: “Sewanee Village Project” and on Instagram at the “Sewanee Village Project”